Faculties » Departement of Psychology » Developmental Neuropsychology


See News from


10.10.2018 - we have moved!
Since the 1st October 2018 we have moved to the Technische University of Dortmund, where we now operate under the name "Sehen, Sehbeeinträchtigung und Blindheit". Our new homepage will be announced soon.

What are we as scientists fired up to do and what do we investigate anyway? On Sunday, June 17th you can find out at the Familientag im Tierpark Bochum. Having fun and accomplishing exciting quests, you turn into little scientists! We are looking forward to seeing you!

Associate Professor Paul M. Corballis from the University of Auckland, New Zealand, will visit us next week. He will talk about his current research on Monday, June 11th at 10:00am (room 03/252). We are looking forward to seeing you then!

We currently conduct a study to gather data about defective vision in primary school age. An increasing amount of pupils is affected especially by short-sightedness, how the ZEIT shows.

Our student assistant Astrid Hönekopp presented a poster with preliminary results from the "INTOUCH" study at the Vision Sciences Scoiety's 18th Annual Meeting in St. Pete Beach, FL, USA (18th - 23rd May 2018).

Our paper "Age-related increase of image-invariance in the fusiform face area" has been published in Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience.

Our PhD student Tobias Meißner investigates developmental processes concerning the perception of scenes – how is this mechanism anchored in our brain? To learn more, read our newest press release.

We are currently looking for teenagers aged between 12 and 17 years who want to participate in a brand-new study about extinction learning. Do you want to find out what "extinction" is and how it is relevant for your daily life? Contact us now (comment: NEXT).

We are currently looking for children aged 7 & 8 as well as 11 & 12 who want to participate in an exciting study about scene processing. Do you want to take part in our research? Contact us and find out more about it.

Our student assistant Astrid Hönekopp presented a poster with preliminary results from the "INTOUCH study" at the MindBrainBody Symposium in Berlin (15. & 16 March 2018).

We are currently looking for children aged 6-12 who want to participate in an exciting study about emotional regulation. Do you want to take part in our research? Contact us and find out more about it.

Our Professor Dr. Sarah Weigelt was appointed as University Professor for the subject Developmental Neuropsychology! Starting February 1, she takes up a Lichtenberg-Professorship which is geared to enable outstanding scientists to research exciting and interdisciplinary fields. We congratulate her on this great success!
Congratulations, Sarah!


Our Paper "Development of Face Detection in Preschool Children" has been published in the International Journal of Behavioral Development. Congrats to our former student assistant Helen Prüfer whose bachelor thesis became part of this paper.

Our lab is currently looking for 1-2 student assistants for new upcoming projects. Applications can be submitted until 25.10.2017. More information can be found in our job offer (German only).

Our PhD student Tobias Meißner will present some results of his project SCENEPRO at the SfN annual meeting in Washington, DC on 11.-15. December. Find out more about it.

Our Paper "Development of Face Detection in Preschool Children" has been accepted in the International Journal of Behavioral Development. Congrats to our former student assistant Helen Prüfer whose bachelor thesis became part of this paper.

Our paper "Looking Tasks Online: Utilizing Webcams to Collect Video Data from Home" has been published in Frontiers in Psychology.

We are currently looking for children aged 11 & 12 who want to participate in an exciting study about scene processing. Do you want to take part in our research? Contact us and find out more about it.

Our lab is currently looking for three new members to join us for some interesting projects starting from 01.10.2017. Applications can be submitted until 30.07.2017.
What kind of jobs are we offering (German only)?

1. Wir suchen eine/n Doktorand/in in Teilzeit (65%) im Rahmen des Sonderforschungsbereichs SFB 1280 "Extinction Learning". In dem Teilprojekt, für welches wir eine Stelle vergeben, werden Experimente mit Kindern & Jugendlichen zur neurokognitiven Entwicklung des Extinktionslernens durchgeführt. Weitere Informationen entnehmen Sie der Stellenausschreibung.

2. Wir suchen eine/n Doktorand/in in Teilzeit (50%) im Rahmen des Verbundsprojekts "Children of Mentally Ill Parents at risk evaluation (COMPARE)". In dem Teilprojekt, für welches wir eine Stelle vergeben, wird untersucht, inwiefern die Kinder psychisch-kranker Eltern unter Schwierigkeiten bei der Wahrnehmung und Regulation von Emotionen leiden und wie sich unterschiedliche Therapieansätze auf ihre mentale Gesundheit auswirken. Weitere Informationen entnehmen Sie der Stellenausschreibung.

3. Wir suchen eine/n Postdoktorand/in in Vollzeit (100%) im Rahmen der Forschungsagenda "The developing visual brain", die in der Förderinitiative "Lichtenberg-Professuren" der VolkswagenStiftung gefördert wird. Die Hauptaufgaben umfassen die Planung, Durchführung & Auswertung einer Längsschnittstudie zur Entwicklung der (frühen) visuellen Hirnregionen mittels fMRT mit Kindern im Alter von 5-12 Jahren. Weitere Informationen entnehmen Sie der Stellenausschreibung.

Our paper "Online webcam-based eye tracking in cognitive science: A first look" has been accepted for publication in Behavior Research Methods.

Our paper "Face recognition is similarly affected by viewpoint in school-aged children and adults" has been accepted for publication in PeerJ.

Our paper "Tracking the Functional Development of the Corpus Callosum in Children Using Behavioral and Evoked Potential Interhemispheric Transfer Times" has been accepted for publication in Developmental Neuropsychology.

We celebrated our lab's fourth anniversary today! As always, we had a lot of cake, balloons and fun. Thank you to everyone who supports our research!

Our PhD student Tobias Meißner was elected as assistant PhD student representative of the field Natural Science/Life Science by the Executive Board of the RUB Research School PLUS .

Professor Sarah Weigelt has accepted the offer to become an associative editor of the Cortex journal .


This year's "Praxistag" is taking place in the lecture hall HGA 20 on Friday, the 16.12.2016 from 4 to 6 p.m. This event allows students of the faculty of psychology to gain an insight into different professional fields of psychology. This year we are looking forward to interesting presentations about educational psychology, criminal psychology, psychosocial refugee support and addiction counseling. To participate, please send an e-mail to praxistag.rub@gmail.com including your name and semester. We hope to see many interested students from all semesters.

Our PhD student Tobias Meißner has been accepted by the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung for a PhD funding. Many congratulations for getting the scholarship!

The Lore-Agnes-Projekt proposal for the funding of "Womentor", the mentoring program for junior professors, by Jun.-Prof. Dr. Sarah Weigelt, Dr. Martina Schmohr and Helga Rudack has been granted. Thus, they are able to offer four intersting workshops for junior professors about career development aside to the tandem mentoring.

We are currently looking for children aged 7 & 8 and 11 & 12 who want to participate in an exciting study about scene processing. Do you want to take part in our research? Contact us and find out more about it.

Our paper "Online psychophysics: reaction time effects in cognitive experiments" has been accepted for publication in Behavior Research Methods.

Tobias Meißner is awarded with an International Realisation Budget (IRB) research grant from the RUB Research School PLUS, funded by Germany’s Excellence Initiative [DFG GSC 98/3]. The competetive IRB program provides first-year PhD-students with the opportunity to enrich their doctorate by international activities. The research grant will enable Tobias to engage in international networking and collaboration with researchers working in the area of his doctorate via research stays and conference participations.

Our paper "U Can Touch This: How Tablets Can Be Used to Study Cognitive Development" has been accepted for publication in Frontiers.

The science magazine RUBIN pusblished an article about the work of Prof. Sarah Weigelt and our Phd student Marisa Nordt. You can find the article here.

Our article "The use of repetition suppression paradigms in developmental cognitive neuroscience" has been accepted for publication in Cortex.

We celebrated our lab's third anniversary today! Of course we had a lot of cake and fun. Thanks to everyone who supports our research!

Kilian Semmelmann was awarded with the TeaP Selected Poster Award (Fachgruppe allgemeine Psychologie der DGPs) for his poster about the Internet as a psychological research method (TOL) on the TeaP 2016 ( Conference of Experimental Psychologists) in Heidelberg. Congratulations!


This year four of our team members graduated successfully.
Ricarda Weiland (Bachelor), Rebecka Röhnke (Bachelor), Tobias Meißner (Master) and Guillermo Carbonell Carrasquilla (Master). Congratulations!

Tobias Meißner was awarded with the prize for the best poster at the Synapsium 2015 (Donders Cognitive Neuroscience Master Symposium) in Nimeguen for his research on the development of interhemispheric interaction in elementary school children (ENTI). Congratulations!

Furthermore the science program "nano" took the opportunity to create a short portrait of Sarah Weigelt and her work about the development of the visual brain in children.

Recently, the emigration of qualified german experts is often in the latest news. Why does it attract so many experts to work abroad? What is the backgroud of those who come back?
On this subject, Prof. Dr. Sarah Weigelt is presented. She gives an insight about her experiences abroad and why she now lives in Germany again.

We are very happy to announce that Prof. Dr. Sarah Weigelt was awarded with the Heinz-Maier-Leibnitz-Preis, one of the most prestigious prizes for young scientists in Germany.
The prize is endowed with 20.000 EUR and is granted by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) and the Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF). It is awarded for excellent research so far and as a motivation to continue your established research profile.
Addition: Due to the award ceremony on 05.05.2015 the Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR) reported about the two arwardees from North Rhine-Westphalia. The full article can be viewed here (German only).

Prof. Dr. Sarah Weigelt successfully raised funding for yet another innovative project using touch-tablet technology in children. After the promising results of our FACETOUCH-study, the Mercator Research Center Ruhr (MERCUR) will provide 47.000 EUR as a start-up funding to push this new line of research. We are eager to start with the new study "Do I know you? Memory for faces in kindergarden-aged children (2-5 years)"!

Our phd-student Marisa Nordt is going to present results from one of her studies on the 15th annual meeting of the Visual Sciences Society (VSS) in Florida in may.

We are looking for curious kids! On January 1st, the WAZ published our request for the study "Development of the interhemispheric interaction in different sensory modalities at primary school children". Tobias Meißner will explore the communication and interaction between the hemispheres of the human brain using EEG (electroencephalogram).


We are offering a research internship for motivated students (B.Sc.) at our lab. The intership will be focused on a new research project investigating the interhemispheric communication of children aged 7-8 via EEG. You will follow the study from data aquisition to interpretation of the results. Moreover, you can also work in the various other project of our group. Your working hours will be flexible, you can have an impression of the interesting field of developmental neuropsychology and you can distinguish yourself for a thesis while working with a young, dynamic and open minded team. If you are interested, please contact Tobias Meißner: enti.studie@gmail.com

To all students who registered for the course in developmental neuropsychology: We will send out information regarding your participation today or tomorrow. Because over 60 participants registered, we had to apply the following procedure to cut down the numbers: Psychology-students, who registered for more than one course of the same module were transferred to the respective other course. Also only students (psychology or cogsci) in their third of fifth semester are admitted, students in their first semester will be able to take the course at a later point.

Our team is participating at the 49. DGPS Congress in Bochum. We are presenting our latest research on three scientific posters.

  • Kilian Semmelmann: Is the Internet suitable for psychological research?
    Montag, 22.09., 13.30-15 Uhr, Audimax Foyer, ID 3403
    Abstract: The Internet is a fast-changing technology with proven utility in reaching a wide and diverse audience. While many industries heavily invest in the on-line global distribution and retrieval of information, science is lagging behind. About twenty years ago, the first few psychological and sociological studies successfully conducted research through online questionnaires. Now, large-scale survey questionnaires in these areas are almost exclusively distributed over the web. In contrast, not much progress has been seen in the use of the web for other scientific methods and applications in psychological research. It is only very recently that a study by Germine et al. (2012) showed through three behavioral studies that online participants (n = 29.461) generate comparable performance to participants in studies conducted in a classical environment.The current study goes one step further to provide a systematic investigation of whether online studies are able to produce the same results as classical in-lab studies. We developed a three-step approach that allows for fine discrimination between possible differences in technology (classical vs. web) and environments (offline vs. online). Five well-known psychological paradigms (e.g. visual search, Eriksen flanker) are tested in each of these steps, producing fifteen data sets. Additionally, we strongly emphasize the analysis of reaction times; a measurement that has not been reported in online experimentation up to now, but is important for many psychological paradigms. Through this approach, we will be able to identify possible shortcomings of online experiments and provide advice for future steps that may be necessary to establish the web as a reliable new research environment.

  • Marisa Nordt: Development of face memory: a question of viewpoint.
    Montag, 22.09., 13.30-15 Uhr, Audimax Foyer, ID 3976
    Abstract: The development of the ability to recognize faces is essential for our lives. However, many aspects of this development are far from being fully understood. Here, we investigated the development of face memory with regard to viewpoint effects in six- to ten-year-old children and adults. Sixty-five participants were tested on three consecutive versions of a 2-AFC task, comprising pictures of faces and cars in either front, three-quarter or profile views. No participant saw the same face (or car) in more than one version of the task. After seeing the pictures in the study phase, in the test phase participants were shown one previously seen face and one new face per trial (or cars, respectively) and were asked to identify the old item. We used a 3x2x6 design, comprising the within-subjects factors viewpoint (front, three-quarter, profile) and category (faces, cars) and the between-subjects factor age group (6-, 7-, 8-, 9-, 10-year olds, adults). A repeated measures ANOVA revealed 1) a main effect of age, indicating better memory performance for older age groups 2) a main effect of viewpoint and 3) a trend for a category x viewpoint interaction indicating that the viewpoint effects stemmed from the face data mainly, while for the car data no systematic viewpoint effects were observed. Taking a closer look at the face data revealed that the main effect of viewpoint stemmed from lowest performance for profile views. This was reflected in a significant difference of memory performance for three-quarter and profile views of faces in adults (t(13) = 3.68, p = .003) and in a significant difference between front and profile views in children (t(50) = 2.89, p = .006). This way our results replicated viewpoint effects on face memory from adult studies and extended these findings to a sample of school-aged children. Furthermore our results are in line with infant studies indicating a later onset of the ability to encode profile views of faces.

  • Ricarda F Weiland: Are Cars Suitable As Control Stimuli In Face Recognition Tasks?
    Montag, 22.09., 13.30-15 Uhr, Audimax Foyer, ID 4004
    Abstract: Cars are often used as control stimuli in face recognition tasks. Usually faces are presented in front view, while cars are shown in profile view because it is widely assumed that cars in front view look like faces and might be processed as such. However, a systematic investigation of the suitability of cars in front view as control stimuli is missing. In order to answer the question whether cars in front view are processed like faces, we investigated inversion effects of cars and faces in both front and profile view. The (disproportionate) inversion effect describes a lower recognition performance for inverted faces than for upright faces, which is less pronounced for other visual object categories. We used a 2 x 2 x 2 within-subject design with factors category (faces, cars), perspective (front, profile), and orientation (upright, inverted). 31 healthy students (age 19 – 38, 21 female) participated in a face memory task. During the learning phase participants first viewed 10 items of one category and then 10 items of the respective other category. In the immediately following test phase, participants’ memory was tested in a 2-AFC task containing one old and one new item. Participants had to indicate the old item. A repeated measures ANOVA revealed 1) a significant main effect of perspective indicating better performance on front than profile view items 2) a significant main effect of orientation showing better performance on upright than inverted items and 3) a significant category x orientation interaction: For faces, the inversion effect was stronger than for cars (disproportionate inversion effect). Post-hoc t-tests showed inversion effects for faces in both front and profile views and for cars in profile view, but no inversion effect for cars in front view. Our results thus indicate that cars in front view are not processed like faces (as measured by the inversion effect) providing first evidence that cars indeed are suitable as control stimuli in face recognition tasks.

Prof. Weigelt returns from maternal leave at 01.10.2014, just in time for the beginning of the winter semester. Now we are happy to announce that we can provide research internships, topics for theses and teaching again.

This semester, our group is going to host a "Praxistag" for psychology students that are interested in career alternatives that are not requiring a further training for becoming a psychotherapist or studies in economic psychology. Learn More (german only).

We are offering bachelor thesis topics! Our group provides a variety of topics.

The Seminar "Angewandte Einführung in die Datenanalyse mit R" (german only) for both bachelor and master students will be thaught twice this semester. New: Smaller group size; additional tutor for instant help in excercises, shorter days distributed over two weekends. Learn More.

The Elite Network of Bavaria invited our own Kilian Semmelmann to attend the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting. You can find his report about the intensive, inspiring and interdisciplinary meeting with the Nobel Prize winners in the RUB News Section (german only).

Marisa Nordt, graduate student in our group was accepted for a Phd scholarship of the German National Merit Foundation. She is in good company: Kilian Semmelmann (Phd), Katharina Sommer and Tobias Meißner (both student) are also supported by the "Studienstiftung".

New seminar "Angewandte Einführung in die Datenanalyse mit R" for bachelor and master students. Learn more.

PNAS early edition now contains our most recent paper on white matter changes in autism spectrum disorder.


Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative covers our original article about face perception in autism spectrum disorder.

Our paper „Face recognition deficits in autism spectrum disorders are both domain specific and process specific” is published in „PLoS ONE” with free acess now.

Our paper „Ongoing neural development of affective theory of mind in adolescence” was published in „Social, cognitive and affective neuroscience” recently.

Our original article „Domain-specific development of face memory, but not face perception” was accepted by „Developmental Science”.